The men’s grooming category is gaining traction, especially in tools to bring the barber experience home. Just as women are seeking more do-it-yourself devices — including microneedlers, derma rollers, laser hair removers and LED lights — men are also upping their game.
Overall device sales, for the 52-week period ended Aug. 12 in all mass doors tracked by IRI, soared almost 30 percent. Retailers including Walmart and Target have doubled down on their commitment to men’s products. Euromonitor said the global male grooming market will hit $60.7 billion by 2020, fueled by men expanding beyond just shaving products.
The explosion of the men’s category doesn’t surprise Kenny Duncan, owner of Main Attraction Unisex Salon in Philadelphia and the Lead Educator for Andis Co. He sports an impressive roster of notable clients. He toured the world as the barber on Lady Gaga and Adele world tours, styled for major films including “Fantastic Four,” “Creed” and “Creed II,” and is the personal barber to NBA stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. He also has a line of grooming products called the K Duncan Collection. He’s amassed a social footprint including more than 83,000 followers on Instagram (@kduncangrooming).
Andis Co. is riding a sales wave as the men’s market expands, fueled by educational programs including those from Duncan. Andis has products for both professional and home use, notably the Master Adjustable Blade Clipper and T-Outliner used by barbers. Andis’ professional products are sold to professionals via an authorized dealer network around the world. In the U.S., the at-home consumer products can be found at Amazon, Walmart and Target and direct on andis.com.
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Here, Duncan discusses how he got into the styling business, his social media habits and what we’ll all be talking about in men’s hair care in the next few months.
WWD: How did you get into the business?
Kenny Duncan: Growing up in a low-income household, getting haircuts didn’t happen as often as needed. Therefore, my mom’s way of saving money was to invest in trimmers to help reduce the cost of grooming. This helped us save financially because my facial hair was thick enough for me to be charged for a cut as early as sixth grade.
WWD: What are your go-to social media channels?
K.D.: I don’t follow any one page consistently, but I do follow #Greatness, where I find daily nuggets of wisdom.
WWD: What’s the oddest product you’ve ever used?
K.D.: Liquid Latex & Bondo to create custom prosthetic facial hair for a major motion film due to hit the big screen Nov. 21.
WWD: What’s your favorite tool to use?
K.D.: My favorite tool to date is the Andis Cordless T-Outliner because I can do clipper over comb, outlining and free hand trimming with it.
WWD: Do you have any of your own products?
K.D.: Yes — the K Duncan Collection of cutting combs. It’s a nine-comb series of carbon fiber and rubber combs that are perfect for cutting with clippers and shears. White or light-colored combs are a strong aid when executing clipper and shear over comb techniques, so I wanted to design a collection that not only helps with contrast when cutting, but also offers a range of styles to satisfy personal preference.
WWD: What are your client’s current trends? What will we be talking about in six months?
K.D.: Celebrity men influence the hair choices of other men like Justin Timberlake growing a beard, Odell Beckham Jr. growing longer naturally curly hair and [“Black Panther” character] Killmonger sporting a tight fade with styled dreads. However, various versions of natural-styled crowns with faded sides are growing in popularity, too. As more men are growing their crowns in the next six months, I foresee men with longer hair will incorporate various styles to match such as a man bun, dreads and designer cornrows. The desire for natural varies from client to client, especially since men are sporting man units formerly known as toupees. On the extreme opposite side, I also prefer to use natural shaving products and beard grooming products due to the health benefits and the bump-free shaving natural products produce.